Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement

Last updated on: August 28, 2021

If you decided to set up your LLC, besides paperwork and startup costs, you should think about its daily work organization.

In the process of its activity, a company may face a variety of issues. The order of profit distribution, the rights and duties of participants, accounting and tax issues, all of these aspects need to be analyzed and regulated. 

With your business growth and expansion of its sphere of interest, the number of procedures will only increase. For this reason, at the stage of forming a Wisconsin LLC you need to set out the main points in a special document, called the Operating Agreement. Having this document will allow you to avoid uncertainty, prevent possible conflicts and make your LLC stronger.

To understand what exactly an operating agreement is, what benefits it provides and how you can get it, let’s take a look at this topic.

What is an LLC Operating Agreement?

Operating agreement is a document that establishes the structure of the company, its basic operating principles, and the rights and duties of the participants.

In contrast to the Articles of Organization, an operating agreement is an internal act. This means that it does not require any fees or registration with a specialized state agency. 

As the state does not provide a standard operating agreement template, its elements depend on the number of founders, structure, and division of responsibilities.

At the beginning of the company’s formation, when you are full of ambition and enthusiasm, concluding an operating agreement may seem like a waste of time. However, the confidence and protection it gives is worth the effort. The importance of this document does not depend on whether you are starting a multi-member or single-member LLC, because well-regulated processes are essential for every business.

The main points of the LLC operating agreement Wisconsin are:

  1. Company Information: your LLC’s name, date of initial registration, registered office, and principal office;
  2. Term: how long your LLC in Wisconsin will be valid, typically until you file for termination;
  3. Owner or Member Information;
  4. Registered Agent Information: the name of your registered agent, their address, and contact information;
  5. Type of management: the LLC is run by the participants by default, but they can indicate one or more managers, defining their rights and duties;
  6. Capital Contributions: the amount of money each member has invested in the LLC;
  7. Votes distribution among the participants and the voting procedure;
  8. Tax Treatment;
  9. Bookkeeping;
  10. Profits, Losses, and Distributions;
  11. Member Changes: the procedure for withdrawal and exclusion from the company, actions in the case of death of a member, the rights and duties of new members, the process of buyout of shares;
  12. Amendment Procedures: how your LLC will approve changes to the operating agreement;
  13. Dissolution: what happens when you terminate your LLC.

Each company is unique, of course, so you can choose only points that you consider useful. We recommend covering as many issues as possible in the operating agreement, focusing not only on the current level of your business, but also on the future.

Am I Required to Have an Operating Agreement in Wisconsin?

No! According to the state law, Wisconsin LLC operating agreement is optional for doing business. Because it is an internal company document, you do not need to send it to The Department of Financial Institutions or any other specialized agency to comply. You can skip the step of drafting and concluding the agreement and start working.

In practice, responsible owners prefer to draft an operating agreement before commencing business to take care of its stability, legitimizes the LLC in the eyes of the court or the bank.

Benefits of Creating an Operating Agreement

Despite the fact that its presence is optional, an operating agreement in place will set up your LLC for confident and successful growth. Among the benefits it provides are the following:

  1. for a single-member LLC operating agreement is an additional guarantee of your status and gives greater respect from Wisconsin court in case the company becomes a party to the proceeding. You can prove that the LLC is an independent legal entity and that your personal funds and business assets are separate if the agreement states that;
  1. for multi-member LLC, having an officially designated ownership interests, rights and duties helps prevent conflicts and misunderstandings between members;
  2. operating agreement outlines the procedures for withdrawal from the company, the sale of ownership, and accession of new members, ensuring a smooth operation regardless of ownership changes;
  3. fixing the order of registered agent changes allows you to avoid confusion and to act effectively;
  4. standardizes office and routine processes reduces the time it takes, which improves productivity of the company;
  5. a well-developed operating agreement serves as an indicator of your company’s reliability and can be an important argument in dealing with potential partners or investors;
  6. avoids Wisconsin’s “default rules”: If there is a dispute, the agreement will help protect the company’s interests by avoiding the “default rules. The state’s general laws apply only unless otherwise provided in an operating agreement and, because of their general nature, they are not always advantageous to a particular business.

The advantages of having an operating agreement are obvious. This is a key document not only for the effective internal work of the company, but also for its external interactions with banks, investors, partners and courts.

Free Wisconsin LLC Operating Agreement

According to the state’s position, to create a company you need just to file your Articles of Organization, and operating agreements are not required and are made only by the owners’ discretion. That is why the Department of Financial Institutions website, which contains a lot of useful information for entrepreneurs, does not have an official form or set of instructions for filling it out.

Then how do you get your own agreements? Create your own one using a free operating agreement template, which you can find online. 

Depending on the specifics of your business, templates are usually divided into several major groups:

  • for single-member LLC;
  • for multi-member LLC where members want to run the company themselves;
  • for a multi-member LLC in which participants have assigned the daily operations to one or more managers.

Most of the templates on the Internet are appropriate for their purpose. However, their main disadvantage is uniformity, while a truly high-quality operating agreement should be individualized. Its depth affects directly the ability to comply with the interests of your company. You’d better get a template free through an affordable LLC service, turning to such reputable companies as Northwest Registered Agent or ZenBusiness.

With the help of the templates setting service, offered by the professional LLC service, you can make changes to the operating agreement in such a way that it corresponds to the peculiarities of your company. As a bonus, any of these companies will provide you with a free registered agent for one year.

Despite the fact that there is no LLC operating agreement form, creating an operating agreement is easier than it might seem. You need neither a law degree nor writing skills, because the content, structure and legal terminology are determined only by the owner’s desire.

Making Changes to Your Operating Agreement

Doing business in Wisconsin successfully requires flexibility and the ability to react quickly to changes. To provide this, as the LLC will grow and evolve, your operating agreement LLC Wisconsin must change along with it, adapting to new needs and processes.

You cannot foresee everything in advance, but fortunately, it is quite easy to make changes to the text of the agreement. As a rule, this process is already provided for in the document itself. If your registered agent resigns and you need to mention the contacts of the new registered agent service, all you need to do is to open and edit a Word or PDF file. 

Notarization is not required, but after updating your operating agreement, do not forget to send copies to the other company owners for their approval. Check that each of them has signed the document to make it legally.

You can keep the approved agreement with the other LLC documents.

A useful practice is also to save drafts of the previous version of the operating agreement. This will allow you to see any changes you have made, and can also be useful in case of any disputes.

Engaging a specialist outside the company

Hiring an Attorney

The support of a lawyer is the most reliable way to be absolutely certain that the operating agreement provides for all possible outcomes and details concerning the peculiarities of your chosen to field. Experienced Wisconsin lawyers that specialize in LLCs will not only answer your questions, but will also help you draft the agreement in such a way so you can get the most out of it.

You can hire an attorney to check an already prepared operating agreement and correct certain details, or you can order the writing from scratch. 

The service costs vary depending on the lawyer’s qualifications and location. It can be a flat rate for drafting an operating agreement or an hourly rate. 

If you don’t know any good specialists and don’t know where to find them, use the Avvo website. The convenient search will allow you to sort Wisconsin lawyers that specialize in LLCs according to your preferences such as price, qualifications, location, etc.

Hiring an LLC Formation Service

You want only the best for your business, of course. Especially when it concerns the most important documents. However, an attorney’s services are sometimes out of reach for young startups, whose budgets are limited at first.

To get all the benefits of the customized operating agreement for your LLC and not to overpay, consider hiring an online service that will take care of your paperwork. 

Companies like ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent are at the top of the list, providing high-quality services for a reasonable price. If you decide to hire them to create your LLC, they will not only help you draft a well-designed operating agreement for your business but also offer a variety of useful extras.

The fees these companies charge with their services are low, but it’s up to you whether it’s worth the peace of mind and confidence they offer in return. 


The only more or less detailed reference to operating agreements in state law is found in Section 183.0102 of the Wisconsin Statutes. It specifically addresses the agreement’s rights, giving only the definition itself. 

The legislator outlines a number of issues that the owners of companies can regulate themselves by including them in their operating agreement. This list is very extensive, but at the same time it includes several exceptions. 

For example, it is forbidden to break federal or state law. Even if an LLC indicates in its operating agreement that it may operate without a registered agent and obtain no sanctions for doing this, such condition would be invalid.

The situation is similar when an LLC to skip Annual Reports, claiming that this is included in its agreement and therefore cannot be considered as a violation. 

In both cases, the public authority will take action, the legal consequences of which will be extremely negative.

Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray
(323) 789-5289
Senior Business Tax Writer, etc
Jean Wilson Murray

In this IncFile vs ZenBusiness review, we're going to compare two of the most popular LLC formation services based on pricing, features, and drawing out differences and similarities to let you see which is most suitable for you and your business.

You can learn more about @Mike here.

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